Facebook
Christopher Lee as Count Dracula in Dracula (1958) {image via Hammer Films}

If Sir Christopher, one of the greats of Geek and Film Culture had been a fictional character instead of a real human being, any decent editor would have demanded the writer tone him down, as it wouldn’t be believable to the average reader that one man could do so much.

He played the role of Count Dracula no fewer than ten times. In the Star Wars franchise Sir Christopher played Count Dooku in the second and third movies, Attack of the Clones (2002) and Revenge of the Sith (2005). He was the wizard Saruman in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, and was the only member of the cast of any of the films who had actually met J.R.R. Tolkien. He served king and country honorably in World War II. He was knighted for his services to drama and to charity.

In The Curse of Frankenstein (1957), he played the Creature. He played Kharis in The Mummy (1959). He climbed Mt. Vesuvius mere days before it erupted in 1943. He was a recording artist and was a gifted singer, recording both opera and heavy metal music. He appeared in over 200 movies during his long career and performed in nearly 300 TV shows and movies between 1946 and 2017, plus of course, several stage and radio performances. He was multilingual.

Sir Christopher Frank Carandini Lee was born May 27, 1922. He passed away of natural causes on June 7, 2015 at the age of 93.

007 and Sherlock Holmes

In addition to Star Wars, LOTR, vampires, mummies, and monsters, Sir Christopher was also associated with both James Bond and Sherlock Holmes. Ian Fleming, his cousin by marriage, tried to arrange for Sir Christopher to play the title role in the movie version of Dr. No. The studio had another actor in mind for the part (Joseph Wiseman), but Sir Christopher later wound up playing Scaramanga in The Man with the Golden Gun (1974).

In The Hound of the Baskervilles (1959), where his long-time friend and frequent co-star Peter Cushing played Holmes, Sir Christopher Lee played Sir Henry Baskerville, perhaps Sherlock Holmes’ most famous client. Sir Christopher himself played the great detective twice, in Sherlock Holmes and the Deadly Necklace (1962) and again in Sherlock Holmes and the Leading Lady (1992). In The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes , he played Sherlock’s older brother Mycroft Holmes.

Although Sir Christopher was of mixed English and Italian ancestry, five times he played Chinese arch-villain Fu Manchu.

Sir Christopher Lee’s deep melodious voice made him popular for voice work. He was a frequent narrator and did several video game voices. He voiced the role of King Haggard in both the English and German versions of The Last Unicorn )1982). In the British mini-series based on Sir Terry Pratchett’s Discworld novels, Sir Christopher voiced Death in The Color of Magic, Wyrd Sisters, and Soul Music. He reprised the role of Count Dooku in the Star Wars cartoon Clone Wars, He recorded fifteen audiobooks. He voiced Pastor Galswells in The Corpse Bride(2005).

Sir Christopher died in 2015, before the MCU was going strong. (If it f eels like the MCU has been around forever, remember it only started in 2008.) He did appear in a few superhero movies. He played Miguel in Captain America II: Death Too Soon (1979). In Jaguar Lives (1979), he played the villainous Adam Caine. He played Mr. Midnight in The Return of Captain Invincible (1983). He narrated the documentary Necessary Evil: Supervillains of DC Comics.

Hollywood’s Premier Vampire

  • Horror of Dracula (1958)
  • Dracula, Prince of Darkness (1966)
  • Dracula Has Risen from the Grave (1968)
  • Scars of Dracula (1970)
  • Count Dracula (1970)
  • Taste the Blood of Dracula (1970)
  • One More Time (1970)
  • Dracula, A.D. 1972 (1972)
  • The Satanic Rites of Dracula (1973)
  • Dracula and Son (1976)

Sir Christopher’s astonishing screen credentials didn’t end there. He played Dr. Wonka, Willy’s father in in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005). In the reboot of The Adventures of Greyfriars Bobby (2005), he played the Lord Provost. In The Three Musketeers (1973) he played Comte Rochfort, Of his many movies, he thought his best performance was in Jinnah (1998), where he played Mohammed Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan. His role as Lord Summerisle in the cult classic The Wicker Man (1973) is respected by critics and admired by fans.

Christopher Lee, the Singer

With his surprisingly cultured and well developed singing voice, Sir Christopher sung on the soundtrack for The Wicker Man. He appeared on the concept album, The King of Elfland’s Daughter, by former members of Steeleye Span and inspired by the Lord Dunsany novel of the same name. He made his heavy metal debut when he performed a duet with Fabio Leone of the Italian power metal band Rhapsody of Fire on the song “The Magic of the Wizard’s Dream” from their album Symphony of Enchanted Lands II – The Dark Secret .

In 2006, Sir Christopher released a solo album, Revelations, which included him singing Broadway show tunes, and heacvy metal adaptations of opera songs, and the pop standard “My Way.” In 2010, Sir Christopher was awarded the Spirit of Hammer Award for his contributions to the metal genre of music.

Sir Christopher was granted the Bram Stoker Award for Lifetime Achievement for his contributions to horror in 1994. In 1997, Christopher Lee was appointed Commander of the Venerable Order of St. John, In 2001, he was appointed a Commander of the Otder of the British Empire. In 2009, he was knighted. In 2011, the French government made Sir Christopher as Commander of Ordre des Arts et des Letres.

Sir Christopher F. C. Lee was a gentleman and a scholar, and from reports, one of the nicest men you’d ever meet. The world is vastly better for his having passed this way.

-30-

Susan Macdonald
Susan Macdonald

Susan Macdonald is the author of the children’s book “R is for Renaissance Faire”, as well as short stories in “Alternative Truths”, “Swords and Sorceress #30”, “Supernatural Colorado”, “Barbarian Crowns”, “Cat Tails””Under Western Stars”, and “Knee-High Drummond and the Durango Kid”. Her articles have appeared on SCIFI.radio’s web site, in The Inquisitr, and in The Millington Star. She enjoys Renaissance Faires (see book above), science fiction conventions,  Highland Games, and Native American pow-wows.

%d bloggers like this: